I think it’s time for the church to accept that the battle for the culture has been lost. The Moral Majority, the Tea Party, petitions, boycotts, and election drives have all failed to usher in the spiritual and moral revival for which well-intentioned people have hoped.
We have opposed the movements that contradict our Christian convictions. We have debated in the public arena. We have organized. We have gone the grass-roots route. Yet, here we are. Our President has handed down a directive to all public schools that students must be allowed to use the restroom that accords with their gender identity, regardless of their biological gender.
I do not wish to tackle the issue of transgenderism here. I would rather reflect on where we go from here.
For many years, the church in the United States has opposed movements such as “gay marriage” while attempting to convince individual homosexuals that we love them and have their best intentions at heart. This is a pretty thin line to try to walk.
Perhaps it is time we quit being an opposition party and started instituting a counter-movement. Rather than trying to bring the kingdom through political means, what if we actually gave Jesus a try?
I don’t know if you have noticed, but in the New Testament, Jesus didn’t have much to say about the Roman government, even though it was rife with corruption and immorality. This is not to say that Jesus’ teaching would have no political implications. It is to say that Jesus did not put forth a political strategy.
Rather than oppose Rome’s excesses, Jesus instituted a new movement. This movement, called The Way, took place on an interpersonal level. Redeemed and transformed people devoted themselves to the teachings of the apostles, loved their brothers and sisters in Christ, and trusted that the gospel had the power to alter the course of people around them. They lived as good citizens of the Roman empire because they were citizens of a greater kingdom.
What might happen if we, the church, followers of The Way, refocused the energy and resources spent on political campaigns? Instead of merely opposing cultural movements, what if we engaged in a counter-movement? What if we spent our energy and resources on the proclamation of the gospel, on self-giving and compassionate service, and on relational investments in broken people? What if we committed ourselves to the teaching of Scripture and to prayer?
God knows the condition of our culture. He hates sin more than we do. He is absolutely just. He will ultimately set all things right. He is also gracious and merciful. His offer of salvation is available for those with whom we disagree. He has chosen to extend his offer through the church. In our efforts to oppose cultural movements, could it be that we have neglected to offer the power available for true cultural transformation?
Even if we were to succeed in our opposition, we would have changed laws without changing hearts. True and lasting change only comes through the opening of eyes to the glory of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ.